MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Nastia Liukin and Chellsie Memmel did it again.

A day after becoming the first American women to win the gold and silver medals in the all-around competition at the world gymnastics championships, Liukin and Memmel took the top two places on the uneven bars during Saturday’s event finals.

But Liukin got the gold this time.

“I feel great. I’m just so excited,” said Liukin, who missed out on the all-around title by just 1-1000th of a point. “I knew I’d hit my routine and I knew I had a good chance of getting a medal. When I landed I was just so excited.”

Her graceful acrobatics in the uneven bars final earned her a 9.662 out of 10, just ahead of Memmel’s 9.587.

“It’s great to have the silver medal,” said Memmel, who won the gold medal on bars at the 2003 world championships. “I’m not worried that I didn’t defend the world title. My main goal was to win the women’s all-around last night and I achieved that.”

Fellow American Alicia Sacramone won bronze on the women’s vault with an average score of 9.412. Her first vault – a Yurchenko mount with a double back twist – earned 9.387 out of 9.8.

“It’s awesome,” Sacramone said. “This is my first world championships and it’s really exciting to place.”

China won two gold medals and a bronze Saturday, while Brazil collected its first men’s title and Canada and Hungary won rare medals.

China’s Cheng Fei won her country’s first world title on vault, with an average score of 9.656.

The only woman in the competition to perform two vaults with a 10-point level of difficulty, Cheng’s first vault – a near flawless back flip mount with a 21/2 twist – scored 9.725.

Cheng also scored 9.587 on her new vault – a back flip with a half twist followed by a front somersault and a 540-degree twist – which she is seeking to have named after her.

Three-time Olympian Oxana Chusovitina from Uzbekistan, the oldest female competitor at 30, took the silver medal with an average score of 9.418.

It was Chusovitina’s seventh medal on vault, breaking the record she shared with Russian Svetlana Khorkina for the most medals won by a woman on one apparatus.

Diego Hypolito became the first Brazilian man to win a medal at a world championships, taking the gold for his explosive performance in the floor exercise. The acrobatic 19-year-old ended his powerful routine with a clean double Arabian and an unbeatable score of 9.675 out of 10.

Newcomer Brandon O’Neill from Canada was second with 9.537 out of 10 – his country’s first silver medal in the event in a world championship. Canadian men have won three silver medals in the world championships, but never gold.

China’s Liang Fuliang, whose routine attracted raucous applause from supporters in the local Chinese-Australian community, tied with Hungarian Robert Gal for the bronze medal with 9.587 out of 10. It also was Hungary’s first medal in the event.

The world championships end Sunday, with individual event finals on the women’s beam and floor exercise, and the men’s vault, high bar and parallel bars.

AP-ES-11-26-05 1257EST


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